It's been nearly three decades since the first Taco Factory Inc opened its doors, and though the business has expanded to other locations, some things haven't changed. Chefs at all locations still rely on the same family recipes to craft a menu of authentic Mexican cuisine. The guacamole that tops the restaurant's tacos, tostadas, and burritos, for example, is still made fresh in-house, and the salsas and tortilla chips are always handmade. Breakfast, which is served till noon, features hearty eye-openers like egg and bean burritos or huevos rancheros, while a variety of vegetarian options cater to those in search of lighter fare.
Everyone loved visiting the Macias household. Antonio and Sara’s hospitality was matched only by their elaborate Mexican dinners. After years of wildly successful dinners and parties, the duo decided to spread the good word and start their own restaurant. In 1974, they opened the first Mi Ranchito in Ontario, California, packing the tiny space with six tables and stocking the kitchen with fresh produce, meat, and seafood.
Decades later, and Antonio and Sara’s small eatery has replicated itself into three locations across California. Their children and grandchildren join them in the kitchens, where they fold fresh ingredients and handcrafted sauces into traditional enchiladas, chili rellenos, and carnitas. Meanwhile, bartenders blend top tequilas into a variety of innovative margaritas and specialty drinks. In the dining rooms, hand-painted murals of tropical birds, colorful Mexican artwork, and the party-hat wearing condors who serve the food create a festive atmosphere. The restaurant's uncompromisingly fresh and delicious cooking, innovative drinks, and welcoming environment have been lauded by a slew of press publications and won the restaurant the award for Best Mexican Food from Inland Empire Magazine.
Owner Ernesto Madrigal founded his restaurant in downtown La Verne because, as he told the University of La Verne's Campus Times in 2010, "I just thought this was a nice little quiet place to start.” However, the vivid hues in the dining room create an atmosphere that's more festive than quiet, with bright orange walls accompanying the cacophonic sputtering of chicken and steak fajitas or diners doing Don Knotts impressions. The menu overflows with familiar Mexican staples from just south of the International Date Line, including carnitas burritos, chipotle-spiced empanadas, and chorizo with scrambled eggs.
Judy and Jim Moore, owners of Cafe Cabo Mexican Restaurant, refer to their customers as "mijo" and "mija"—meaning son and daughter in Spanish. “Once you walk in, you are part of our family. We want you to feel at home,” Judy told Tennille Lindsey-Wright of La Verne Magazine. This family sentiment really shouldn't come as a surprise, considering Judy's main inspiration, and not to mention all of her recipes, come from years of watching her mother prepare decadent Mexican cuisine.
“Of my mother’s five kids, I was the one to maximize her recipes. My family would always call me, asking how to make certain dishes," Judy explained to Tennile. "With four children of my own, I found myself cooking a lot of [her] recipes." By opening Cafe Cabo in 2010, Judy’s dream of sharing her mother’s cuisine became a reality, as she, her husband, and her son today serve a menu of tacos, burritos, and enchiladas, all made to-order to accommodate meat lovers and vegetarians alike. Whether it's golden-fried fish tacos wrapped in a corn tortilla or chicken fajitas that sizzle all the way to the table, every feast at the cafe is enjoyed amid scenic coastal-view paintings and warm, rustic décor modeled after the Moore’s favorite vacation spot, Cabo.
A colorful sign juts from Manny’s El Loco, proudly proclaiming “World Famous Burritos Since 1971.” Inside, chefs busily pack the eatery’s claim to fame with carnitas, carne asada, and chicken, or up the ante with rib-eye steak or chorizo. Forks and knives find a place at Manny’s as well, thanks to taco salads tossed with meat and avocado and enchilada platters paired with authentic rice and beans. The kitchen crew incorporates hamburgers and french fries into its primarily Mexican menu, and helps customers tackle the morning or their nemesis with eggs prepared any style, which they can take to go or enjoy on the outdoor patio.
The Gringos Tacos family of guacamole gurus has retained their taqueria's catering roots while expanding into a restaurant and slinging tortillas from its very own food truck. American influences peek through in heaps of french-fry nachos, chipotle-aioli-drizzled BLT tacos, and guacamole made with Grant Wood paintings. Using high-quality ingredients and eschewing lard helps keep the menu of creative Mexican cuisine tasting fresh.